Activists: US report on Orang Asli land rights too shallow

Source: FMT News

Siti Kasim says Washington’s annual human rights report is an outdated view of Orang Asli land rights issue, adding that the report bases its argument on a simplistic interpretation of the statute law. Pic from FMT News.

Siti Kasim says Washington’s annual human rights report is an outdated view of Orang Asli land rights issue, adding that the report bases its argument on a simplistic interpretation of the statute law. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Washington’s annual human rights report does not adequately address issues surrounding Orang Asli rights in the country, several Orang Asli activists have said.

Activist-cum-lawyer Siti Kasim pointed out that the US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 was too shallow as it merely interpreted the Orang Asli land rights issue in a “simplistic manner”.

“It’s partially correct if one were to solely focus on written law. But it’s an outdated view on Orang Asli land rights, based on a simplistic interpretation of the statute law,” she told FMT when contacted. Read more

Education of Orang Asli kids being neglected

Source: FMT News

Orang Asli activist Colin Nicholas recalls horrific punishment for Orang Asli children by schools and teachers. Pic taken from FMT News.

Orang Asli activist Colin Nicholas recalls horrific punishment for Orang Asli children by schools and teachers. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Education for Orang Asli children is being neglected with unmotivated teachers being sent to teach them, Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) Coordinator Colin Nicholas said.

On top of this, he told FMT that teachers stationed in rural areas were often under pressure to “show good results”.

“We have come across many cases where schools are under immense pressure to maintain the UPSR pass rate.

“They will do anything to get the weaker students out so that these children won’t sit for exams and bring down the overall results.”

Yesterday, FMT reported that teachers in a rural town in Kelantan were allegedly falsifying medical reports of Orang Asli children from a school, labelling them as intellectually disabled, to avoid being penalised for falling grades in the school.

Colin recalled his experiences with COAC, revealing there are many instances far worse than falsified medical reports.

For one, he noted the vast physical abuse Orang Asli students underwent which went unreported or unaddressed.

“Some of the punishments are terrible. It is something you will not find in normal schools.” Read more

The runaway children Malaysia failed to save

Source: BBC News

Pic by Malaysian Insider / Najjua Zulkefli, taken from BBC News website

Earlier this year seven children from an indigenous Malaysian tribe ran away from school and got lost in the jungle. Seven weeks later, only two survivors were found. The shocking case raises uncomfortable questions about Malaysia’s treatment of this minority.

A group of children are lying on the floor of a bamboo hut drawing with crayons and felt tips. It is mid-morning and they should be in lessons but the pupils from the villages in this area don’t go to school any more.

At first the nine and 10-year-olds are shy but then they start telling me about one of the teachers in the residential school they used to go to.

“He punished us even if we did nothing wrong,” says one of them. “He made us stand outside in the sun for ages with our desks on our heads and our knees bent, like this.”

As she demonstrates the posture, the others burst into peals of laughter. But one girl in a striped T-shirt is silent and focuses on her picture.

She is 10-year-old Norieen Yaakob. Last summer she and six classmates could no longer bear the harsh discipline at the school, so they fled into the rainforest.

These children are Orang Asli which in Malay means “original people” and they’re the earliest known inhabitants of the Malaysian peninsula. Read more